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It Has Been Said That Systems Engineering Must Be Learned Through Practice, Mentoring, and More Practice. Our Advisors have Experience with All Three.

Kinds of Projects

All scheduled courses will provide learning materials, which the student reflects on, and is given feedback by the instructor. Take a look at the Distance Learning Environment in the menu link on SYSE Courses and note the very last word: projects.  Virtually all of the regularly scheduled classes will include prepared course material and a term project.  The term projects will be relatively short, may involve analysis or synthesis, and will focus on topics specific to that course, such as requirments management.  That's one kind of project.  Some students may choose as an elective, SYSE 505, Reading and Conference. parts of courses may feel like a project, but the emphasis is read about a topic of interest to both the individual student and individual instructor.  As pleasing as it may sound to be able to read for the fun of it, we don't do that.  The student will be asked to critique the material, relate it to their past professional experiences, and make recommendations on its future value as a systems systems engineer. Often documented is in form of a mini-project report.  These two types of projects occur through out the masters study period, from beginning to end.  However, The Culminating Experience for the masters degree, is the masters project, SYSE 506.  Nine of the 45 credits are devoted to the masters project, which is a significant amount of work. We will recommend that you spread the nine credits over 2-3 terms. Projects may be performed with advisors from AF commands, PSU, Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) and industry. To perform the masters project in one term is equivalent to a full time job for 10-11 weeks; a difficult task for students in this program who are working professionals.

SYSE 506: Master's Project (1-9 credits per term; 9 in total)

The masters project is a capstone experience that exercises systems engineering concepts in a comprehensive project of interest to student, advisors, and their sponsors. The student may wish to work on a project in their area of domain knowledge and with outcomes of direct interest to their current or future employer.  Nonetheless, the project must encompass: a) systems thinking, b) a systematic approach, c) identification of customer and stakeholder needs, d) requirements management, d) validation and verification, e) formal interface management f) assessment of results. The scope of the project is well defined and must satisfy objectives related to technical engineering, student learning, and systems engineering areas.  The project generally starts with a formal proposal, continues with progress reports, and ends with a stand-alone final report.

The topic for SYSE 506 may be considered as early as the student, advisor, and sponsor wish, but the actual work is generally performed later in the masters program. The master's project, SYSE 506, differs from term projects in several ways: 1) the system of interest is real and familiar to the student's employer or sponsor; 2) the project is a culminating experience; 3) ample credits are available to formally: a) perform trade-off studies on selecting a topic, b) incorporate all appropriate systems engineering concepts and tools, c) validate and verify all stages of the project.

Masters Project Requirements

The PSU systems engineering degree is a Master of Engineering.  A significant portion of degree is devoted to the masters project, demonstrating that we are committed to its importance. We do not call it a 'thesis' at PSU for this type of masters degree, thus loosening rules governing the format of the final report and the consitution of the advising committee. By doing so, we can personalize the culiminating project experience.  Our projects are governed by the student, the sponsor of the project, and faculty members.
As a consequence, the organizational structure for performing and documenting the project will vary from one group of cohorts to another.  In one case, the sponsor prefers a group of students who cover several topics, in a more incremental fashion.  The final report may be less formal and available in its entirety on the the internet. Another sponsor is asking for individual student work, with a scholarly proposal as an entrance requirement and formal final report as a completion requirement.  For this group of cohorts, the advising team will consists of a senior PSU instructor, with faculty support from outside universities, and technical advisors from a national lab, who will collaborate with PSU.
As reports are made available they will be linked from this page.  Stay tuned.